Ward 13: Ideopathy
The ward wasn’t silent, it was never silent. Air conditioning fans gave a background hum to a chorus of machines saying they needed recharging, realigning or replacing. No one noticed them though. Nurses lay on the floor, patients in their beds and chairs, heads fallen forward or back. Doctors collapsed onto piles of medical notes and a volunteer had fallen forward onto her trolly which had dragged her along briefly before she’d slowly slipped to the floor, unconscious. Only one patient moved, turning in his sleep. Shaking and moving, responding to things only seen by eyes that darted around behind closed eyelids.
A door opened. If any of the staff had been conscious they’d probably have told you they’d never seen that door opening or what was behind it. Every ward had a door like that, never seemed to open, no one knew where it went except this time, it did. Two figures stepped out, both in dark green overalls with reflective patches that caught the lights in the ceiling. The first was very tall even though he was hunched over. He held the door open with one hulking great grey hand for the second figure. She was more normal sized but for the tail that swished around behind her. Flames burned softly from where her eyes should be. The flames flickered and moved as she looked around the corridor they stepped out into. She instinctively scratched her head in between her long black braids at the base of one of her long grey horns. She produced a radio from her belt. “Hello Central its unit three entering site via in-hospital translation, currently on Ward E2, St Mary’s Hospital Bristol, All patients are unconscious,”
“How can you tell they aren’t dead, Amy?” the larger figure said crouched by a doctor lying unconscious on the ground, checking her pulse.
“I can see auras, duh,” Amy said,
“Oh yeah, Why didn’t they call the DPA in on this, this could’ve been dangerous?”
“Didn’t come across as dangerous on scans, just big use of magical energy, plus its quicker to get us here,”
“What if it had been an explosion?” the big man asked, his voice deep and resonant.
“well it wasn’t, Jerry,” Amy said flatly.
“Hello?” Jerry called out to anyone awake to listen.
“I can see something different up ahead. Blindlingly so,” she said, squinting slightly and walking up the corridor, stepping around people.
“Powerful aura?” Jerry asked as he followed her. He wondered how his companion saw the world, not just in light and colour but as bright waves and swirls of emotion
“Yeah, bright white, like looking at the sun!” she said, almost sounding like she was in pain.
“Nobody has a normal aura, it seems,” Jerry chuckled
“That’s because in our line of work there’s no such thing as normal, Jez,” She said as they entered one of the Ward’s bays. All six patients were in their beds, most fallen backwards or forwards, only one looked in any normal position, on his side.
They walked carefully towards the patient. “I can tell you one thing, he’s not human,” Amy commented. “definitely magical and something big,”
“We can turn our illusion spells off then?”
“I think that’s safe,
“Good, the portable ones always make my skin tingle,” Jerry commented before stepping forward. He glanced up at the board behind her bed. “Excuse me, Mr White,” the man stirred slightly. Jerry put a hand on his shoulder and very gently shook him. “Mr White,”
“Yes,” he said, sitting up sleepily. Looking around. “Are you a nurse?”
“No, no, we’re just going to move you to another ward but first we’re going to run a few tests on you,”
“oh, oh okay,” he said with what could be confusion, what could be torpor. Amy produced a small computer and began running tests on the man. Jerry scribbled the information down on a computer tablet. “Temperature 96.7, Pulse one twenty over sixty, sats 98%, “
“Very healthy, Mr White,” Jerry said positively.
“Yes, all good, right Mr White, we’re going to get you a chair and we’ll move you to your new bed, do you have any possessions with you?”
“N-no, just myself,” he said as Amy pulled a foot long metallic bar from her bag and pressed a button in one end. It doubled in length. It then unfolded at both ends twice to form a frame, then in half to form a seat. Wheels popped out the sides and unfolded until full. Soon enough she had a wheelchair ready for the patient. “Right, do you need a hand Mr White,”
“Please call me Kenneth,”
“sorry Kenneth,” Amy said with a smile. Mr White swung his feet around unassisted, if a bit slow and pushed himself upright. His feet patted across the floor to the chair and he sat down a little unsteadily. “No mobility issues,” Amy commented to Jerry, who was checking the patients notes from their folder at the end of the bed. “Admitted this morning, apparently he was brought in because he was reporting pain when urinating.
“Seems a bit minor for admission but whatever, I’m sure we’ll get to the bottom of it,” Amy said as she got behind the chair and began to push the patient gently forward.
They left the bay and Amy noticed Mr White start to shake in his chair, swinging his weight side to side, “Careful Ken, you don’t want to fall out,”
“Where are you taking me!?” he demanded loudly, all the louder for the quiet ward.
“to another ward, Ken, where they’ll be able help you”
“I won’t go, you villains!” he said swinging at her with a fist, Amy continued forward towards the still open door they’d come in on. Jerry produced his radio. “It’s fine we’re almost” Amy stopped mid-sentence as the doorway back to ward Thirteen was replaced by an open doorway into a café. The smell of coffee and baked goods filled their noses. She saw people around her.
“Illusions!” she barked and her and Jerry both touched their belt buckles. A Little tingling sensation was the only thing that told Amy that the people around her were now seeing her as a regular boring human, with a quick amnesia spell thrown in for good measure. “Where are we, where’s?” They looked around. “And where the hell is the patient?”
“Treliske Hospital, Truro,” Jerry commented, pointing to a sign. He lifted his radio up. “Central, can you confirm patient arrived on Ward Thirteen safely, have found ourselves suddenly translocated to Treliske hospital, Cornwall under unknown circumstances,” there was a pause
“Ward Thirteen reporting the patient has arrived safely and is being dealt with by nursing staff but you were both missing.
“Do you have a door for us?” Another pause, distant noise of tapping at a keyboard
“Main reception, lift on the left, first, second, third, fifth,”
“thanks Central,” Jerry said with a sigh.
“What the heck happened?” Amy said as they left the café and headed towards the lift.
“Buggered if I know, magic spell?”
“you’re on one for stating the obvious,” Amy said, raising an eyebrow
“Fair point,” he chuckled. “Who though. White?”
“I guess, you did say there was something unusual about him,”
“We’ll tell them once we get back to the Ward.” Amy suggested. They studied the map and followed its directions. “I mean, he’s clearly not human, that aura almost hurt it was so bright,”
“Bright in a good way or a hellfire kind of way,”
“So bright it was hard to tell what the colour was, so maybe just white light, bit like staring at the sun,”
“You know,” said Jerry, “I’d love to see the world through your eyes, I’m just a boring ogre,” he snorted
“Just take a bunch of PCP, from what I understand it,” Amy suggested
“If you did PCP wouldn’t that cancel your vision out and make everything normal,”
“No, I’ve never done PCP but this one time in New York. I was at David Bowie’s back in ninety one and”
“Get away!” Jerry interrupted
“How old are you?”
“Technically, two thousand three hundred-ish, on continuous experience of the mortal realm, Thirty two, of course I turned up here as you see me now,” Jerry whistled an impressed noise at this.
They entered the lift and pressed the buttons they’d been instructed to. When the doors opened again Amy could see they were back in Sevenside. Out the window she saw the city walks of Severnside and beyond it the tightly packed medieval buildings of the city centre. Amy noted it was still early as they passed various other nurses, doctors, porters and domestic staff on their sleepy ways to their own wards. She turned down a corridor saying with arrows to Cardiology admin, porter’s lodge, St Michaels Ward and finally “William Harvey Annex,” seemingly a dead end. Amy walked through the solid wall of the dead end, approached a familiar looking set of double doors and stepped through.
Amy briefly had a glance of the main entrance of Ward 13 before it started to rush upwards. One moment Amy was walking down the corridor, the next she felt like she had missed a step. She looked down, confused at what still looked like a flat surface that her leg was ankle deep in and sinking fast. She felt her balance shift and she instinctively put his hands up to stop the ground from hitting her face. Instead the ground rushed straight past her and after a few flashes of grey and silver she saw another floor about two meters below rushing up to meet her.
She collided with the floor and the air was forced from her lungs. After a second she climbed up and looked around. She was in another empty corridor. A nearby sign pointed her to Ward Nine in one direction and to radiology in another. She was relieved to realise she was still in Severnside hospital but was on the floor below Ward Thirteen, insofar as Ward Thirteen existed in any specific place. She looked up at the seemingly normal ceiling she’d just fallen through. Unsure how to react, she just stood there for a minute before walking down the corridor towards the lift.
Her second attempt to enter Ward Thirteen was more successful and she strode purposefully onto the ward only to be greeted by a cacophony of noise and action. People’s auras blazed red and yellow with anger and confusion. High pitched voices screaming and shouting. A nurse ran across in front of Amy and ducked into a side room. A small figure, human shaped but about a foot tall ran after her brandishing a cannula needle. The figure looked like a woman in an old, almost medieval dress with a flowing skirt rushing around behind it. The creature looked annoyed briefly at the closed door then turned to Amy and ran at her, swinging the needle about. Amy sidestepped the creature and it fell towards, tumbling across the corridor.
She walked towards the main desk of the ward where another creature, again about a foot tall in a ruff and britches, was swinging a pair of scissors at a nurse. The secretary was moving around trying to avoid it. “Amy!”
“Nick, what the heck?”
“These just appeared as we tried to approach that new patient, they seem to be defending her,”
“Is he actively summoning these, I mean are they pixies or?” Amy trailed off “he didnt exactly seem with it,”
“Well we checked his records, he was in for a UTI,” Nick explained
“That explains the confusion, but there’s no way she’s human,”
“Could be a witch?”
“Unlikely, his aura was ridiculous, bright white like, it actually hurt to look at him, I dont think a human can give off that kind of effect,” Amy explained
“Looks pretty human,” Nick commented
“So do I when I walk down the street,” She countered.
“But you don’t here, he should revert to his true appearance,”
Nick turned and started walking back towards the room where the new patient was being kept. As they approached it a figure, maybe fifty centimeters high and clad in shining metal armour stepped out, “None shall pass!” said the tiny being at it drew out a sword that was barely ten centimeters long but still looked viciously sharp. Nick rolled his eyes.
“We’re trying to get to Mr White,” he said, trying to negotiate with the little Knight
“None shall approach his lordship!” Nick and Amy looked at each other,
“I mean it’s not the first time I’ve been threatened with a knife,” Amy remarked.
“I’m a nurse! I’m trying to help!” Nick said, trying to keep a calm tone of voice. The little knight looked at him from behind a visored helmet. After some thought, the figure lowered his blade slightly and let Nick and Amy go past. The figures out in the corridor followed them into the room, forming a little squad of guards around the two medical professionals.
As they entered the room the knight followed behind them, carefully eying them with his hands tightly gripping his little sword. There were little figures stood all around the bed, angrily brandishing little rolling pins and miniature axes. “Mr White?” Nick asked calmly,
“Aura is slightly subdued,” Amy commented under her breath
“Yes?” Mr White said, a little dazed.
“My names Nick, I’m a nurse, I’d just like to run a few checks on you if that’s okay,”
“I’m going to get you some water and when you’re ready, we’ll need a sample of,”
“You’re not going anywhere near me!” Mr White said, his voice suddenly booming all around them. The voice shook their skulls and they both instinctively covered their ears. As if hit by a wall of sound, Amy and Nick were knocked back across the room. Amy was knocked against the wall of the room but Nick was thrown clear through the door. He landed on the ground on his back and skidded across the corridor. “Get out!” Mr White boomed again and Nick looked up to see Amy stumble out of the room and shut the door behind her. “Are you okay?” she asked Nick
“I’m fine, just a bit shaken, I wasn’t expecting that,”
“Story of our job, really,” she commented,
“Well yes, I think I recognise something though, he had a pendant on,”
“Little gold thing, I didn’t recognise it” Nick commented
“I did, I recognise it from,” she paused “before,”
“Before?” Nick asked, a little confused,
“Before I came to Earth, to the mortal realm,”
“You’re saying he’s an outsider of some sort?” Nick asked, “A demon? Or an angel?”
“Do you have any books on angelic symbols?” Amy asked “It’s on the tip of my tongue, it really is,”
Nick led Amy through the ward to a small room marked “Archives”. Inside was a desk and a bookshelf that dominated the tiny space. Nick walked up to one of the bookshelves and yanked hard on one of the shelves. To Amy’s surprise the shelves moved downwards like a lift going down a shaft, being replaced at the top by fresh shelves with new books, seemingly appearing out of thin air. Nick did this for a short length of time before stopping the scrolling shelves. He ran his fingers along the shelf and pulled a book out. Amy read the spine. “On the Hosts of the Higher Planes by Professor F.J.Lewis,”
Nick placed the book on the desk and Amy began going through it before finally stopping. “There, that’s the symbol of one of the groups the Ishim,”
“Also called the thrones in christianity, they’re a group of angels, most likely to interact with mortals,”
“So why is an angel behaving like a confused old man?”
“I think we might need to get some help in sorting this out, do you have a phone number for heaven,”
“Yeah I think so,” Nick commented
“Oh I,” Amy paused “I was joking but okay!”
After explaining what was happening to the shift leader and why he hadn’t been doing the medication rounds Nick took Amy to one of the doctors offices and picked up the phone. He picked up a ring binder marked “Useful numbers” and after some searching began dialing one in. First a string of numbers, then letters and finally a string of symbols that Amy had never seen on a phone before. “I’ll put it on speaker phone,” Nick said politely. A dialing tone rang out from all around the room as he did before a voice, booming not unlike Mr White had, spoke out.
“Can I help you?”
“Oh, hi, this is Nick Lawson,”
“Yes, we know,” the voice said calmly,
“ I’m a nurse on Ward Thirteen at Severnside hospital, United Kingdom, um” he paused “Earth,” he finished
“Yes, we know,” the voice repeated
“Oh, right yes, well, we have a patient, a Mr Kenneth White, who is showing strange powers, teleporting people, summoning small creatures to defend him, knocking entire wards of people out, and he has a pendant around his kneck that looks like the symbol the Ishim when interacting with mortals,”
“What?” the voice boomed, surprised, “Oh,” there was a long pause, “blast!” it exclaimed. There was a clicking sound and the familiar hung up tone.
They both jumped as distantly they heard the buzzer at the entrance to the ward sound. They saw a nurse go past and answer it. After a pause she popped her head into the office. “Nick, you have a visitor, they say they’re also,” there was a pause, “Oh you’re also here Amy, they’re here to see you too,”
They walked out into the corridor to see a tall figure that seemed at once both masculine and feminine, barefoot but in a white suit, blonde hair was brushed down over one side of their face. Behind them six great wings rested, taking up much of the corridor. They shifted awkwardly as a porter politely asked to be let past with a wheelchair. “Ah, Nick Lawson, Amy Jones” the angel spoke in the echoing, surrounding voice, “I am Masemiel of the Ishim. This is,” they paused “quite embarrassing, could I please be taken to this Kenneth White,”
“So you know he’s an angel,” Nick asked
“I believe so,”
“You believe so?” Amy raised an eyebrow. Nick briefly flicked her a glance of annoyance. They started walking towards the room where Mr White was.
“I am aware that angels have a reputation for being all knowing, to be well versed in the worlds of mortals but we,” they paused “are less aware of the affairs of other angels, especially those that wish to be left alone,” They stopped at the room to the door. “Several years ago, Sheleg, one of my kin travelled to Earth to be with a mortal he had,” another pause, the angel was clearly carefully picking their words, Amy thought. “He was very fond of, so he took mortal form, abandoned his angelic abilities and this was the last we saw of him. May I go in?” Nick nodded at this.
The angel stepped inside, the room was empty of all the creatures that had been causing havoc. The room was still, no one fell through the floor or found the door opening into the wrong place. There was just Mr White, lying in his bed. “The mortal he went to live with, showed up with us about a month ago, when he didn’t show up with her we went looking for him but he’d hidden himself from us, that is until you found him. It would seem he made himself too mortal, illness and all,” The angel stood by the bed.
“Hello Kenneth,” they smiled
“Oh,” White began, confused, “It’s you, I remember you,” White reached out and held the fellow angel’s hand. “I think I remember now, I think I’m ready to come home,”
“Once you’re feeling better, Ken,” they said softly. The angel looked to Nick and Amy. “I trust his problems should be easy to fix?” Nick smiled
“Oh yes, after all that, it should be very straight forward,”